Phocus LCD 30 WMS: Tight And Responsive
We were pleasantly surprised by the performance of this entry-level LCD TV. It showed some exceptional latency readings, with a peak of 14 ms in the most abrupt transitions. That's slightly below the maker's claims.
So far, the LCD 30 WMS had been fairly convincing performance-wise. Under actual viewing conditions, the picture was a little less idyllic. The viewing angles were fairly narrow. The picture wasn't terribly sharp with movies or with video games. Televised images were less of a problem, but still nothing extraordinary. Blacks lacked depth.
The interpolation wasn't bad at all on this monitor - but with good reason. In fact, the image is deliberately softened to avoid jaggedness. The approach works, but we didn't like it because it results in a visible loss of image definition.
Connecting to a PC worked around the scaling problems. The low latency of the panel is appreciable above all in fast-action video games. On the other hand, operating in PC mode, you can't use the remote control, which is frankly a bother.
The LCD 30 WMS is clearly behind the pack from this point of view. You'll need to hook it up to a stereo set or mome theater speaker system.
How far should manufacturers go in sacrificing performance to achieve the lowest possible selling price? It's hard to say. The LCD 30 WMS has some good characteristics, but everything doesn't measure up. In the end our criticism focuses mostly on the ergonomics. We talked to Phocus' representatives at the most recent CeBit show, and the company is well aware of the problem. They've started working on it, and we'll be testing their 26" models, which have a lot more going for them, in our next comparative article. As far as design goes, Phocus is currently working on the possibility of shipping the LCD 30 WMS in black-lacquer and possibly metallic red versions. The results look promising. But all in all, compared to the other models, this set is not in a bad position if you consider the price.